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Tar Heel Hangover: New Year’s Day Edition

Welcome 2018!

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Tar Heel Hangover. This is our Monday morning opportunity to review last week’s game, second guess all of the key moments, and set the game plan for the week ahead.

The Elevator Speech: The State of the Team.

First of all, Happy New Year! As we all think about heading back in to the office on Tuesday, rest assured that the Heels avoided the ranked team curse that struck so many on Saturday. The win over Wake Forest was another gritty effort.

Words of Wisdom? A Thought from MGD.

“They are going to get dominated inside and that is going to cost them this season.”

This is not the first time that My Grumpy Dad has expressed this thought. In the preseason, he said something very similar. With the pre-conference schedule now concluded and conference play underway, it is clear that the freshman big men along with Luke Maye are not going to be the interior dominating presence that Tar Heel fans have grown so accustomed to.

There is promise, however. Luke Maye is getting very adept at operating in the space that is created by three-point shooting. The freshmen, especially Garrison Brooks (5 rebounds and 6.5 points per game), are developing and finding their legs.

Lying In Bed, I Am Worried About. . .

I like honesty here at THH. The last four games have not been good. The Tennessee road win was certainly a good victory in a close game, but I think it is debatable how good the Volunteers really are. A loss at home and a near loss in the conference opener at home were concerning at best.

This is a fun team to watch. They are athletic and distribute the ball well with a high tempo fluid pace. There is not, however, much room for error. While the last minute poise and leadership provides hope as we move to the New Year, there is a nagging concern that this team is going to sustain losses it should not. Let’s hope those do not come in late March.

When I Talk to Haters, I Brag About . . .

The Haters are getting one more bye as the holiday season draws to a close. Instead, this is a time to contemplate the year that is concluding and look ahead to the positive developments of the upcoming year.

The 2017 football season was certainly one to forget. Looking ahead, the recruiting progress has held momentum and there is hope for the future. Most interesting as the team moves to spring is whether there will be a quarterback controversy or not. It will also be nice to see all of the starters back on the field again instead of standing bandaged on the sideline.

On the hard court, 2017 was truly a year of redemption. It is important for that thought to not get lost in the “what have you done for me lately” society that we find ourselves in. This team is not only top 20 caliber, many of them are veterans of two championship games. They play under the National Championship banner that they brought home.

What is interesting for a core group that has played so much together, is that they are still finding their places on the team. Joel Berry II is arguably the only returning player who is assuming the same role on the team as last year. Everyone else is having to step up a notch, play a different position, return from injury, or simply new to the team. Most encouraging is that in crunch time, different players have made key plays.

Final Thoughts

Appreciate 2017 while looking forward to 2018. Let me know in the comments of any interesting resolutions you have for the year.

May your year be safe, happy, and full of victories. Go Heels!